A 63-year-old American man has died during a flight from Nigeria to New York’s JFK after vomiting profusely – but it was only a ‘cursory’ exam by the CDC that confirmed he did not have Ebola.
The unnamed passenger boarded an Arik Air plane out of Lagos, Nigeria, on Wednesday night, but passed away before the plane reached its final destination.
Flight attendants called the CDC, Port Authority and customs officials, who then boarded the plane in protective gear as it touched down, forcing 145 worried passengers to remain on board.
The authorities then conducted tests on the body and it was only a short evaluation that suggested he did not have the deadly virus, prompting concerns there are still ‘vulnerabilities’ at airports
According to the New York Daily News, the man, who was traveling alone, also suffered chest pains before he died. This morning, a Port Authority source said he passed away of an apparent heart attack, but this is yet to be confirmed.
Following his death, the U.S. citizen’s body was handed over to the Port Authority who removed it from the plane, with the CDC allegedly providing little information on how to deal with the remains.
Throughout the 45-minute ordeal, the door connecting the aircraft to the terminal was left open, according to The New York Post . This prompted worries from Republican Congressman Peter King that there are not enough checks in place before reaching the screening process.
In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, he wrote: ‘It was what I was told a cursory examination. The Port Authority cops and personnel from Customs and Border Protection were there, and they were told there was no danger because the person did not have Ebola,’ King said.
‘But their concern was, how could you tell so quickly? And what adds to the concern is how wrong the CDC has been over the past few weeks.’
His letter goes on to demand that Homeland Security needs to strengthen protocols before reaching the screening location – concerned of what happens to potentially infected passengers in flight and at the terminal itself.
He added: ‘These individuals transit the airport with the rest of the traveling population, including using the restrooms,’ King wrote to Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in a letter Thursday.